Imagine you discovered the city had been double billing you for garbage collection. So you contact the city and the city agrees that through a clerical error, you had been double billed and for years paid twice as much as you should have for garbage service.
Do you think the city would?
(A) Refund the money you had been overcharged with a sincere apology.
(B) Say, we’ll see you in court.
If you chose B, you got it right because that is essentially what happened to the Point South Homeowners Association.
It’s a little more complicated but Point South Homeowners Association discovered in 2019 that since 2007 the city had been drafting the homeowners association bank account for two dumpsters, when in fact the Point South had always had one dumpster.
Point South is a condominium development at 2618 Randleman Road where the condos for sale range in price from $32,000 to $45,000.
The city had collected over $68,000 from Point South for a service the city didn’t provide.
The facts of the case are not in dispute, but the actions of the city should be.
The city admitted that it had overbilled by more than $68,000 and sent a check to the homeowners association for $11,520, not even 20 percent of what was due and refused to pay more.
The homeowners association hired attorney Chuck Winfree to file suit and Greensboro in court was not represented by one of the attorneys from the city attorney’s office, but by two attorneys, Olivia Fajen and Patrick Kane, from Fox Rothschild one of the largest law firms in Greensboro.
Greensboro City Attorney Chuck Watts declined to comment on the case.
The fact that the city had collected over $68,000 for a service it did not provide was not disputed in court. The question was how much was the city legally obligated to pay and did the statute of limitations apply.
In court the question is not what is right or moral but what is legal. NC Superior Court Judge Richard Gottlieb ruled that the statute of limitations did apply and the city couldn’t be forced to return the over payments for more than two years. The issue of what years the $11,520 paid for was left undecided.
So the city chose to spend thousands of dollars to hire an expensive law firm to go to court to keep from paying its own citizens about $56,000 that it took from them by mistake, but legally does not have to return.
South Point is in City Council District 1 represented by Councilmember Sharon Hightower.